McCain, Obama healthy for eight years as President, says actuarial firm

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New York, Sept.26 : An actuarial firm in the United States has said that both John McCain and Barack Obama would be cleared for insurance coverage if they approached in their capacity as President of the United States.

Obama has a history of smoking, and McCain is 72 years old with a history of skin cancer. But neither candidate is a bad bet to live through two terms as president of the United States, according to a statistical analysis performed by an actuarial firm.

According to John M. Bragg and Associates Inc., an Atlanta-based actuarial firm, McCain has 8.4 healthy years ahead of him, making him eligible, albeit barely, to serve two terms as the country's commander-in-chief.

Obama can look forward to more than two decades - 21.9 years to be exact - of healthy living.

Healthy years differ from life expectancy in that they refer to the number of years a person will live without requiring assisted living or suffer a debilitating illness such as Alzheimer's disease, not to the average number of years a person has left to live.

Bragg and Associates decided to compute the candidates' healthy years as a "public service" to voters.

Either candidate has not contracted the company, nor is it endorsing one.

"Health expectancy is one of our specialties," owner John Bragg told

"We've been doing this for more than 20 years, and we were interested in knowing whether the two candidates would be healthy for two terms. We had access through their Web sites to review their health situations. So we took a look," he added.

Actuaries specialize in risk. Using lifestyle and health information, they calculate a person's risk of injury, sickness, disability and death.

Among the pros and cons used to calculate McCain's longevity were his four bouts with melanoma - the deadliest type of skin cancer - as well as his degenerative arthritis, still-active 97-year-old mother and his treadmill EKG, which is in line with someone 10 years younger.

To gauge Obama's health, Brooks took into account that he is also in extremely good health, with low cholesterol, triglyceride and blood pressure levels, as well as a very low body fat percentage.

On the downside, however, Obama is considered a smoker, even though he has recently quit.

Obama's medical records also noted some mild respiratory problems and a family history of cancer on his mother's side. But Brooks said neither is expected to substantially impact his longevity.

Although the numbers show that Obama has more than double the number of healthy years ahead of him than McCain does, Brooks said that has more to do with age than with health.

Brooks also noted that the healthy-year calculations are misleading in that they put Obama at about age 69 when his health starts to fail and McCain at better than 80 years old.

"It has less to do with health and more with survival of the fittest," Brooks said. "You get more credit the longer you live. McCain already has 25 years on Obama, so Obama still has to survive the next 25 years before he can get credit for them."

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